in light, as much at home in its environment as the beach grasses and rugosa roses that surround it. In fact, architect Andrew Wilkinson’s aim was to dissolve the line between inside and outside. He accomplished that by installing three sets of trifold doors that completely retract, effectively “removing” large swaths of exterior walling. He also built a windowed cupola and two dormers, one facing east, one west, inset with large windows to add volume and let in the enchanted beach light. “What we wanted aesthetically,” says Kassin, “was something that felt like New Jersey coastal—really traditional, timeless beach-town design—but with a more contemporary lens.” Wilkinson achieved that goal, in part, by scaling up the ceiling and sightlines while using traditional materials such as white cedar and ipe, a dense hardwood of which nearly all of New Jersey’s boardwalks were once constructed. From a practical standpoint, all the surfaces had to be tough enough to stand up to a marine environment, which made the choice of flooring particularly tricky. Wilkinson and his
This page: The architect used cool colors and clean lines to create an overarching sense of calm in the cabana’s interior. To the same end, walls, ceilings and beams were all painted in Benjamin Moore’s Designer’s White. RH Modern’s stump coffee tables add a touch of whimsy to an area defined by a pair of open-weave sofas from Palecek and designed for conversation. Opposite page: Three sets of trifold doors open up the cabana to the outside. Because the structure was built directly on the beach, the architect chose materials—including white cedar trellising and decking constructed of ipe, a Brazilian hardwood— that would hold up to the elements. The surfboard is one from a collection belonging to the owner, a lifelong surfer.
as “classic soda fountain and retro beach vibe.” For a while, his father contemplated running the place as a commercial club—it wasn’t zoned for home occupancy—but in the end he decided to clean it up and use it as a spot for family get-togethers and community events. From the mid-’90s through the summer of 2012, the cabana hosted weddings, anniversary celebrations, bar mitzvahs and charity parties. But more often it was a place for the extended family and their friends to just kick back, enjoy the sand and surf, and hang out together. “Honestly, it changed my life,” says Kassin, a real estate developer and year-round surfer. “It affected our family culture and our interests and how attached we are to nature and the outdoors.” That string of happy summers was washed away, along with the cabana and virtually everything in it, when Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Jersey Shore in 2012. But like so many Shore denizens, Kassin and his family were determined to rebuild. While the renovated space, completed in 2017, includes aesthetic nods to its former funky incarnation, the building that’s risen from the wreckage is something else again: open and airy, awash
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